Paul Pillar writes in the National Interest that the peace treaty is not in danger because Egypt will never take on Israel. But Israel and the lobby are using fear of such an outcome, strife between the countries, to push the US to continue aid to Egypt. Why are they fearful that Washington will cut off aid?
This subject leads to what may be the strongest motive for the Netanyahu government to oppose squeezing the flow of aid to Egypt, although it would not openly acknowledge it as a motive. The Israeli Right has to be discomfited by any thought of the United States using leverage based on a major aid relationship in that part of the world to get the recipient to change destructive policies. It is the failure of the United States to use the even greater leverage it could exert on Israel that permits Netanyahu’s government to continue the occupation and colonization of conquered territory and, 35 years after Camp David, to deny the Palestinians self-determination.
And Pillar says the Israelis don’t want anyone looking into the terms of the treaty anyway. That could only result in buyer’s remorse, for the broken promise to Palestinians.
Some in the Israeli government may be thinking of a possible downside for them of emphasizing the idea that the peace treaty is endangered. This idea may bring to mind how the U.S.-Egyptian aid relationship is rooted in the bargains struck by Jimmy Carter at Camp David, in which voluminous U.S. assistance to Egypt was part of the price the United States paid to get Sadat to assume the costs and risks of making a separate peace with Israel. That in turn may bring to mind how Israel did not fulfill its part of the bargains, which was to make a peace with the Palestinians within five years and withdraw Israeli troops from Palestinian territory.
A related argument was made by Russ Douthat in last week’s Times. He said we’re getting nothing but trouble for our aid to Egypt, so it’s time to “Let our client go“– cut off aid, because it is damaging us in the eyes of Egyptians and the world. As you read Douthat’s argument, consider how much of it is applicable to Israel. I wonder when he’ll get to that aid? Douthat:
Client governments are never as tractable as their patrons in far-off capitals expect, and a great power that thinks it’s buying influence is often buying its way into trouble instead…
Even absent an actual military footprint, we’ve been dragged permanently into Egypt’s domestic politics, where we’re seen — for understandable reasons as well as conspiratorial ones — as the real power behind whatever the state decides to do. In the 1980s and 1990s, that seemed a price worth paying…
[Today] the cost of being intimately tied to the military regime is getting higher, and the window for demonstrating that America’s favor really is conditional is closing fast.
Right now, the Obama administration is trapped by its client state the way that great-power patrons often are. Because our aid to Egypt is our most obvious leverage over its military, and because we can really only pull that lever once, Washington is afraid to follow through and do it.
But leverage can be lost through inaction as well. If we can’t cut the Egyptian military off amid this blood bath, we’re basically proving that we never, ever will.
Yes and what has Israel colonization done to our international image?